During the first day of Fashion Meets Music Festival, Columbus-based indie pop collective Plaid Brixx took to the Donatos Stage to start the day off strong with energetic vibes despite a smaller crowd, their performance being one of the first performances of the day.
The Indie Sound had the opportunity to sit down with Plaid Brixx lead singer Chris Duggan after the band’s performance about the festival, the band’s music videos and what it’s like being a local act in such a big music scene.
The Indie Sound: To start off, you opened the festival! Did you have fun?
Chris Duggan: Of course, I always love playing music.
TIS: Before the second song, you asked if we had ever done something…?
CD: OH! Mutton busting! Our friend was in the crowd and he grew up on a farm and he used to ride, sheep, like…they used to strap little kids onto the sheep and let the sheep go, it’s called mutton-busting or something. So that was a shout-out to him. He grew up on a sheep farm in Pennsylvania. He had that black hat on, that was an Amish hat, that he cut into a hipster hat.
TIS: I’m also interested in your name, with the two x’s. Why?
CD: Because it’s a cooler stylization than “cks” I guess (laughs). We’re too cool to spell it “cks.” At the beginning of the band, like the “Hipster Queen” song, it was a commenting on hipster culture so it was kind of like that and satire, but we’re also kind of hipster-y so it’s like..not satire?
TIS: I was wondering if it was of a specific person or of the culture in general.
CD: Well I went to college in New York and I would always be in brooklyn, and everyone was wearing floral print and you know, there’s a very hipster vibe in Williamsburg that was around the time I wrote that song. And it was also about the girl I was dating in college.
TIS: I read that you were in New York then moved to Ohio, which is a move that people would be super confused by, I’m sure.
CD: I like Ohio a lot. You can breathe the air, like people enjoy living here. In New York, everyone’s heads down and going from Point A to Point B as fast as possible especially in the winter, where it starts getting darker at 4 pm in Manhattan. It’s awful, so depressing. Plus I have family and friends here. I made the decision because I heard that half of the population of America is within a 6 hour driving range from Columbus, so it’s good for touring.
TIS: I’m huge on Ohio and I really feel like people totally underestimate how bustling and cool our cities are. Ohio has so much to offer!
CD: People say, ‘Oh, it’s a flyover state.’ No! No! It’s the destination, dammit, we have Indian mounds, come see the natural wonder, we’ve got gorgeous gorges! (laughs)
TIS: Who would you say is your favorite Ohio band? Besides yourself, obviously.
CD: The guys really love Twenty One Pilots. I respect them. They were never really part of the scene here and were never really accepted before they were big. I remember them playing around before they were big and people would be like, ‘Oh they’re using backing tracks, they’re not an authentic band,’ so people didn’t like them. So they were playing at these hipster venues and completely circumnavigated that, so I really like their business strategy and their story, they’re really great businessmen.
TIS: How do you think festivals like this and Promowest Fest have impacted the Columbus music scene?
CD: FMMF is still in its infancy, in its third year, but it’s growing every year. It’s a great festival. We played at an afterparty at the first FMMF. They do a really good job of getting local bands to play at their festival as well as national talent, it’s really cool.
TIS: For your greener sides video, you worked with a director that’s worked with Fall Out Boy, Nicki Minaj and Pitbull. That’s crazy!
CD: Yeah, he was intense. It was like a closed set, we weren’t allowed to take pictures of anything, I don’t know why still. Tons of people and a crew, there were makeup artists and hair stylists, like, ‘Alright, send the band in to get their makeup done!’ They sent a makeup team to the Airbnb hat we rented, like in the morning, and they got there and they’re like, ‘You guys don’t really need this, why are we here?’ And we’re like, ‘Ah, we don’t know!’
For our “Since You Came’ video, the desert steampunk one, I came up with the concept for it and the costumes and characters and there’s a whole backstory that only really the band knows. I’m thinking of making it a comic book actually and have our drummer illustrate it, since he’s an artist. But I really like getting down and dirty and going to thrift stores and buying old costumes and cutting them up and putting on fake dirt and fake blood, I love all that stuff. I got to go to a prop house and pick out all these old, freaking sweet weapons that you’ll see in the video.
TIS: What inspired the desert steampunk thing appear in the video?
CD: I’ve been listening to a lot of Grimes, and she inspired me to do something a little more out of the box with costumes and stuff. But the three female characters in the video are shout-outs to Bubbles, Buttercup and Blossom from the Powerpuff Girls.
TIS: Could you talk a little bit about the backstory that apparently only the band knows?
CD: My character’s name is Dustin, he’s a sheriff of a small town. He was in Vietnam and a time rift opened in his apartment after he’s back from the war, and he’s just there in the dark with his M-16 rocking back and forth. He doesn’t know how to adjust to society after Vietnam, and the time thing sucks him back to the Wild West in the middle of a bank robbery where Jared was the manager and I was the sheriff, and somehow the time first causes a small apocalyptic event.
I don’t know if you’re familiar with the Fallout games, but one of the best games of all time, there’s a little bit of that, post-apocalyptic, “what is the world like,” kind of thing. The three females represent muses, it’s the fleeting nature of creativity, like getting in the zone and your work flow is going, you’re writing and it’s coming easy then the next day you’re just not as inspired. We’re dancing with the muses, then we wake up the next morning and they’re gone. But they leave behind a crystal, and we use CGI and there’s a giant map that shows us how to find them again.